The Traditional and Modern Uses of Neem

I have to laugh a little at how misleading that title is, as it makes you believe that you might be about to read an exhaustive list of the uses of this incredible healing tree. Alas, this blog only skims the surface, partly because there is so much to express here and this is just a mere blog, not a 5 volume tome, and partly because the FDA would get upset with me if I mentioned most of the uses as their law called DSHEA precludes me from mentioning any diseases.

Parts Used

Traditionally “five parts” of Neem are used as medicine, collectively these five are called PanchNeem. However this ancient formula includes the roots which we leave alone due to sustainability issues. ORGANIC INDIA uses the three parts of Neem that are the most potent and also the most sustainable to use.

  • Neem leaves
  • Neem twigs
  • Neem blossoms

Traditional and Modern Uses

Neem is an incredibly versatile and powerful herb that accomplishes the following and much, much more:

  • Works on every system of the body
  • Supports vital blood cleansing function
  • Supports overall immunity
  • Supports skin health
  • Helps balance digestion
  • Helps balance elimination
  • Helps balance metabolism
  • Supports healthy blood sugar levels

One of the most powerful purifiers in Ayurveda1,  Neem is used in everything from clearing toxic blood found in many skin conditions2, sanitizing wounds3 and cleaning pores4 to clearing and exorcising evil spirits5.

Neem has really earned a loving devotion from India during certain epidemics of undesirable phenomena as people bathed in Neem tea to protect and cure themselves6.  Because of this Neem is literally worshiped by Indians who have dedicated this tree to the Goddess Mariamma, the deity that protects one from epidemics7. It is not uncommon to see this devotion symbolized by a red string tied around a Neem tree with a ghee lamp burning amidst flowers at its base.

Neem is a very bitter herb that purifies and nourishes the blood and skin and so is useful for a wide array of indications ranging from supporting a blemish free face to healing wounds to ensuring healthy skin cell apoptosis. Neem protects liver from toxins and pathogens as well as helping to restore it. This makes Neem an especially useful herb for travel, detoxification and balancing tendencies toward less than salubrious habits. Neem also removes cholesterol from the liver and inhibits its assimilation, giving your cardiovascular system double protection from excesses of cholesterol.

As an anti-oxidant it protects the lungs from pollution and toxins. When it comes to first-aid, it serves in accidents ranging from cuts to concussions. Neem is hemostatic, vulnerary, a great healer of tissue, and it is analgesic, supports a healthy response to occasional inflammation, and significantly boosts immunity. Like the endangered Goldenseal, for which it is an excellent sustainable substitute, Neem is actually a trophorestorative specific to mucus membranes throughout the body where it routes out toxins and pathogens and deeply restores balance and function.

Neem is an especially good tonic for springtime and summer as it is so cooling to the bodymind and clearing of the toxins within the liver and blood.

Western bioscientists have published thousands of studies that indicate Neem promotes the purity of the blood and liver, supports healthy cell proliferation and apoptosis, supports healthy response to occasional inflammation, and is a potent immunostimulant.

Summary

The Latin binomial of Neem is Azadirachta indica, which is the Latinization of the Persian name of this remarkable tree: Azad Dirakht Sindhu, which literally means “The Noble Tree of Freedom from India.”

If you remember nothing else about Neem, remember that it is an incredible awe inspiring complete pharmacy of wellness for thousands of years to an ever increasing circle of grateful people around the world.

Thank You!

Prashanti

  1. Frawley, D. and Lad, V., The Yoga of Herbs, pg 180
  2. Frawley, D. and Lad, V., The Yoga of Herbs, pg 180
  3. Charaka Samhita 25.84
  4. Economic Botany, a publication of the Society for Economic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden 24:257
  5. Patnaik, N., The Garden of Life, pg 40, Aquarian, New Delhi, 1993
  6. Dastur, J.F., Everybody’s Guide to Ayurvedic Medicine, pg 219, Taraporevala, Bombay, 1960
  7. Sivananda, Swami, Home Remedies, pg 147, Divine Life Society, Tehri, 1985
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